I blew it.
I made a BIG deal about something so little. My freak-out began upon the discovery of a wet pair of Batman underwear on my boy’s bedroom floor and ended with me walking out of their bedroom carrying a huge weight of "Bad Mommy" guilt-feelings.
One of the Cole kids that has been potty-trained for quite some time (names are changed to protect their future high school reputation) has been having some accidents lately. All these accidents have one common denominator: the desire to not miss out on fun! This sweet lil’ child feels the need to take a whiz but ignores it, usually while doing a little potty-dance, in the hopes that he won’t miss a millisecond of doing something he loves to do. He has been waiting to the LAST possible second to make a break for the toilet only (on occasion) to not make it at all.
Thus, when the wet undies were discovered today while the boy’s favorite super-hero show was playing, I put one sheepish boy and too many silly accidents together and quickly figured out the problem. I could have been logical, reasoning and wise, discreetly pulling aside my son to talk about the recent accidents. But, instead, I blew it.
The movie was shut off. Hands were firmly placed on hips and one mad Momma faced off with her wide-eyed four-year-old. The glaring and yelling that followed would have definitely disqualified me for any “Mother of the Year” contest.
Somewhere in the middle of my ridiculous rant I stopped as I realized, it wasn’t just the wet batman underwear that was pushing my button. It was the pile of dirty dishes that never seemed to disappear, the overflowing email inbox that I rarely get to the bottom of and the stack of laundry that daily grows from a molehill to a mountain.
I shut my mouth (usually a good thing) and felt my shoulder slump as I sat on the floor next to my little guy.
“I’m sorry, bud. We need to talk about this problem but I don’t need to yell at you. I didn’t handle that very well…that’s not cool. I love you.” After I said this, scrawny little arms were thrown around my neck in under two seconds flat and I heard him whisper,
“It’s okay, Mommy! I love you too!”
Later that evening after the kids were tucked in, I finally collapsed on our bed under the weight of the guilt. I told my husband everything, trying to hold back my tears at the memory of my foolish impatience and poor response to a little boy’s accident. Just sharing it with my man seemed to help me to breath again but I still felt such shame until Bob looked me in the eyes and said this,
“Honey, it’s not IF we mess up as parents, it’s WHEN. When it happens, how do you handle it? You handled it well…you apologized and were humble. Kids need to see that, that was good. You’re a good Mom.”
His words brought things into perspective: I don’t do this parenting thing perfectly. Heck, I mess up A LOT…most of the time, I’m winging it and making it up as I go along! But it’s a relief to know that when I mess up, when I blow it and have a “bad Mommy moment” the best thing I can do is eat some humble pie. I can show my kids that we can try again WHEN (not IF) we blow it.
Dirty dishes, overflowing inboxes, mountain of laundry and wet Batman underwear can’t change this one thing: I love my kids and (by God’s grace!) they love me and we’re going to keep growing together.